Moving road works: Improving safety with autonomous vehicles

Construction sites on motorways, especially moving road works carry a great potential risk, especially in regards to the securing of the site. Autonomous cars are supposed to improve the situation in future.

Immer wieder kommt es an Wanderbaustellen auf Autobahnen zu schweren Unfällen. Abhilfe soll ein autonom fahrendes Absicherungsfahrzeug schaffen. Foto: BASt

Again and again, serious accidents happen at moving road works on motorways. An autonomous security vehicle is intended to provide remedy. (Picture: BASt)

Construction sites at the roadside represent a great risk. Drivers that are distracted and also careless securing of the construction site can lead to serious, even fatal accidents. One accident black spot is the entrance to the road works, the area where the warning vehicle announces the on-going construction works.

Preventing serious accidents

Especially at moving road works, there is a danger that the warning vehicle is too far away from the real working site. For example, rapidly progressing works as for example mowing operations at the emergency lane or cleaning of reflector posts can leave the warning vehicle behind – for example it isn’t occupied the whole time. For solving this problem, a warning vehicle with autonomous steering shall be developed that automatically follows moving road works. Eight partners from industry, science and administration are working together on the project “aFAS”, that shall soon start its trial phase in real traffic.

Production-based technology in use

The project partner MAN has conducted research on a construction truck that shall be evaluated on the emergency lane of a motorway test track in Hessen. The project represents a big challenge for the project partners due to the driverless operation: This means high demands on functional safety of the vehicle as well as on the quality of the vehicle technology. The steering and braking system, the sensors, the environment recognition and also the steering software components must fulfil strict criteria for safety-related systems in road vehicles.

The plan is to equip the vehicle largely with serial components or production-based technology for the steering and for the environment recognition. For example, camera and radar systems are used that shall be able to detect traffic lanes, open spaces and objects in the environment. Moreover, the working and the warning vehicle have a data connection.

Read more: Connected cars: growing presence on the road

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